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Summer 2020

I am extremely pleased to bring you the Summer 2020 issue of our newsletter, but I appreciate that it arrives at a time when we are all living and working in exceptional and challenging times. To this end, we include an article directly relevant to the COVID-19 outbreak on staying well during periods of social isolation.

Of course the newsletter continues to highlight the notable activities and innovation involving staff and students over recent months in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work. Our aim of making a social difference is at the core of all our teaching, research and engagement with professionals and policy makers, both nationally and internationally. We aim to connect the Northern Ireland community with world leading experts and to share with the global audience the recognised excellence in Northern Ireland schools and agencies.

In this issue I am particularly delighted to report that our collaboration with schools through the Shared Education programme has received royal recognition for its educational and social impact.

Professor Carl Bagley PhD FRSA
Head of School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work

Social Impact

Royal recognition for Shared Education work

The work of our Shared Education colleagues over more than a decade was recognised by a Queen’s Anniversary Prize, a national honours system marking outstanding achievement by universities. Professors Joanne Hughes and Tony Gallagher attended a presentation event at Buckingham Palace in February, with Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Greer (second right) and Pro-Chancellor Stephen Prenter (left).

Shared Education provides economic, social and educational benefits to children, schools and society through cross-denominational school collaboration. In 2007, Tony Gallagher established a pilot Shared Education programme with 12 schools working in collaborative networks. The programme now includes 700 schools and over 60,000 pupils in regular, shared classes with schools from different denominations.

Through its model of cross-sectoral school collaboration, using a strong academic research base, Shared Education is now core to education policy and practice in Northern Ireland and has been adopted by educators and policymakers in other divided cities and countries like Jerusalem, Beirut, Los Angeles, Kosovo and North Macedonia.

Director of our internationally recognised Centre for Shared Education, Joanne Hughes, commented: 'The Centre was established in 2012 to promote shared education as a mechanism for delivering reconciliation and educational benefits to all children. This mission is delivered through research, programme delivery and education and training.  Its impact is being felt not only in Northern Ireland but across the world.'

Tony Gallagher said: 'The School of SSESW has always maintained strong and positive relations with schools in Northern Ireland and these links provided the platform to develop Shared Education. This award is a tribute to the many hundreds of teachers and thousands of pupils who have helped make Shared Education work.’

For more information see www.qub.ac.uk/cse

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John Kenny

PGCE Science

Student Profile - John Kenny

John Kenny is a student on our Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) Science, specializing in Biology.

'I’m from Mullingar in County Westmeath, Ireland. I taught Maths and Science in Bolivia for three years before coming home in 2018 to get a teaching qualification. Through Irish medium, I taught in a primary school until June 2019 and then taught at an English as a Second Language Summer School in Dublin. I am the first of my family to go to Queen’s University. Choosing the PGCE at Queen’s made sense. I would have been charged international fees in the Republic of Ireland, compared to standard fees at Queen’s.

Timewise, it’s a one-year course in Queen’s but two years in the Republic. Rent and cost-of-living are very manageable in Belfast. Also, I was genuinely interested in experiencing a new city. Finances might have been a key reason for coming to Belfast but it’s only part of what’s keeping me so engaged.

The PGCE course is very well coordinated and is constantly tweaked to improve our learner experience, based on feedback from previous students. The science department is a welcoming, supportive home providing practical, real world teaching content. I’ve found the course to be demanding, yet engaging. Lectures are relevant and helpful, with good supplemental reading lists.

The library is a fantastic environment – so well laid out and spacious, with very helpful staff. Students are afforded their own common room and kitchen in the School of SSESW and can use several great catering outlets across the campus. The gym is excellent – very modern and well kitted out. You walk through the park to get to it, past the botanical garden greenhouses and museum (which are free), so it makes for a lovely stroll between classes.   

I’m loving the student experience at Queen’s. While learning a lot on my first school placement, I still found myself looking forward to rejoining lectures at university. The contact time with academics is in that sweet spot – not so much time that we feel stuck in class but not so much time on teaching placement on our own that we feel stranded and isolated. I’m lucky to have made a solid group of pals. The Students’ Union have helped me, from setting up a bank account, to getting a student card, to information services. The student bar does tasty, cheap meals. You can sign up to the free National Health Service. And that’s just scratching the surface of what’s on offer.

After graduation, the plan is to look for teaching posts in international locations or perhaps teach in Dublin. My partner is doing the equivalent course there. It’s been interesting to compare notes!

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New Programme

Substance Abuse and Substance Abuse Disorders

The School of SSESW has introduced a new programme looking at Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders, offered at Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and Masters levels. It aims to enable professionals who are working in substance use, mental health and related fields to build on their existing knowledge and skills and to use them effectively across a range of sectors. It develops participants’ understanding of the theories informing substance use and how to translate these into effective practice, ultimately enriching the lives of individuals, families and communities.

The Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders programme has a pragmatic focus, enabling practitioners to learn about a range of multi-disciplinary assessment tools, methods of interventions and the necessary skills to work with substance use across numerous settings. Substance use problems permeate work with a range of service user groups, from the more obvious groups, i.e. working with substance use and mental health, to working with children and families, learning disability offenders and older people. The programme develops practitioner confidence and skills in the complex areas of substance use and substance use disorders and is accredited by the Northern Ireland Professional in Practice Education and Training Partnership. Participants can study flexibly by working around their professional duties.

Dr Anne Campbell, Programme Director, said: ‘The Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders programme provides graduates from a range of social and health care professions with a variety of opportunities to develop their specific areas of learning and skills in practice. Increasingly, our graduates operate within teams which consist of workers from a range of professional backgrounds and there is a need to hone skills and knowledge which are relevant to the multi-disciplinary environment.’

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Lanzhou University

Professional development for Chinese academics

Following completion of a short professional development course at Queen's University, a group of senior academics from Lanzhou University presented the University with a 10 metre calligraphy book. It was painted live in front of an audience in the Graduate School by one of the Lanzhou colleagues, renowned artist Professor Jianxin Xu.

The delegation from Lanzhou University were in Belfast in January to attend a two-week programme on Educational Leadership and the Internationalization of Higher Education, which was organized by the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work. Through a series of lectures, workshops and group presentations, the programme enhanced participants’ understanding of educational leadership and the challenges faced in contemporary higher educational institutions with regard to internationalization.

During their visit to Queen’s, the delegation from Lanzhou University also engaged with a number of colleagues from across the three University faculties to investigate opportunities for future research and teaching collaborations.

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Research Outcomes

Barriers to justice for deaf people

The British Deaf Association (BDA NI) and School of SSESW academic Bronagh Byrne (centre) released a ground-breaking report in December on the barriers Deaf people face when trying to access justice in Northern Ireland. It follows a two year pilot project, managed by BDA NI in collaboration with SSESW and Syracuse University College of Law and Rowan University (both USA), involving interviews with judges, solicitors, barristers, prison officers and police officers.

The research now informs training, provided in conjunction with the project’s Deaf Advisory Group (DAG), for over 120 legal professionals and judges across Northern Ireland. This international project was made possible by the Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning programme and the National Lottery Community Fund.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that disabled people have the right to access justice effectively. Bronagh Byrne said: ‘Our research shows that significant communication barriers remain for Deaf people in trying to access justice. This forces them into positions of vulnerability when rights should be foremost, e.g. reporting serious crime, individual arrest, trial or imprisonment. It is highly concerning that, given the current emphasis on citizenship and civic duty, sign language users are prevented from being full and equal citizens through their exclusion from jury service. This project has created space for discussion across the justice system on these important issues and we will address them through the project recommendations.’

One DAG member said: ‘Having an input in the co-production of this report ensures it will impact on the lives of Deaf people. I believe it will raise awareness and ultimately lead to better service for all Deaf people in Northern Ireland.’

The report and resources are available at https://bda.org.uk/accesstojustice-bsl/ 

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Informing Social Policy

Anniversary of ARK social policy hub

This year marks the 20th anniversary of ARK, Northern Ireland’s social policy hub hosted by Queen’s University and Ulster University. At Queen’s, ARK is based in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW). It records the changing social and political landscape in Northern Ireland. ARK aims to increase the accessibility and use of academic data and research, to support critical policy debate and informed policy making. Researchers, policymakers, journalists, community and voluntary groups, pupils and teachers use ARK resources.

SSESW is the base for ARK’s three public attitudes surveys which record what people of all ages think about the issues that affect their lives. The survey data provide independent and robust evidence that feed into key government and local government policies. Survey results are available online, providing a vital resource for schools and NGOs.  Other resources include research on ageing and the lifecourse, as well as Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN).

A series of activities are marking the 20th anniversary and the impact of ARK. They began with a seminar at Queen’s in February entitled ‘Is the UK Stronger or Weaker after 20 Years of Devolution?’. Professor John Curtice (University of Strathclyde and political commentator) assessed how the constitutional preferences and sense of national identity of people living in England, Scotland and Wales have evolved since devolution began in 1999. Dr Katy Hayward (SSESW) explored the changing patterns of devolution and identity in Northern Ireland during this time. Katy is a sought-after expert on Brexit, the Irish border and the peace process. Her presentation was based on data from ARK’s Northern Ireland Life and Times survey.

Details of ARK activities and events and videos of previous events are available at www.ark.ac.uk

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Staff Profile

Gemma Carney

Dr Gemma Carney is a social gerontologist and Programme Director of our BA Social Policy. In 2019, she was awarded a Queen’s University Teaching Award in the Student-nominated category. She is a member of the executive committee of the British Society of Gerontology and the editorial board of Ageing & Society.

In hindsight, I owe much of my career trajectory to billionaire philanthropist Chuck Feeney, founder of Atlantic Philanthropies (AP). In 2007, sporting a new PhD in political science from Trinity College Dublin, I was working in Dublin and keen to change the world. Luckily, at that time, Feeney was investing heavily in Ireland, allowing people to forming alliances and work together to improve social policy.

After a serendipitous meeting in Dublin, I was employed by Michael O’Halloran, former Lord Mayor of Dublin, then CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament. I spent a year working at the Parliament with Michael and other impressive retirees such as Sylvia Meehan (first Chief Executive of the Women’s Equality Agency), but I felt the pull of the library and became a postdoctoral researcher at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (NUI Galway), again with funding from Feeney. Mentored by Professor Eamon O’Shea, I cut my teeth as a social gerontologist, publishing my first major paper and securing funding from the Irish Research Council.

By 2013, Paula Devine (SSESW) had secured AP funding to run the Ark Ageing Programme. Joining the School of SSESW in 2014 as a Social Policy lecturer and working with the Ark and Social Policy teams has been the most fascinating period of my career thus far. We have run projects on everything from material culture to domestic violence, worked with colleagues across Queen’s and collaborated with the University of Southern California, Oxford and Cambridge. We established the Northern Ireland (NI) branch of the British Society of Gerontology, which has put NI on the UK gerontology map. Ageing is now integral to the social policy curriculum and it has been a privilege to work with talented colleagues on my liberal arts course Questions for an Ageing World and Advanced Qualitative Research Methods at Master’s level. 

The academic community at Queen’s and the local Belfast community have welcomed me and my family. My advice to younger idealists is ‘Just go for it - you never know where your billionaire philanthropist will appear from’.

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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

World Leading Expertise in Trauma

School of SSESW academic Michael Duffy is a world leading expert on trauma who has advised trauma teams dealing with atrocities in New York, London, Norway and Manchester. He worked with BBC Northern Ireland on a documentary (broadcast in February) about the impact on four individuals of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a memory disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt.

The programme PTSD - Stress of the Past met four individuals who suffered traumatic experiences. With their permission, it revealed how these episodes affected their lives and their families. It showed footage of some of them undergoing trauma focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, a method used to treat PTSD, which can help the individual manage their problems by changing the way they think and behave.

Michael Duffy, who took the sessions, explained: ‘It’s [PTSD] actually a memory related disorder. It is a problem with memory being disjointed, of memory not being updated and therefore even though the trauma happened years ago it can still terrorise people today as if it is happening over and over again.’

The therapy sessions revealed the intimate and harrowing journey of recovery that individuals undertake, including a survivor of the Omagh bomb who was 15 years old when it exploded in 1998. The film also featured: a police officer who was at the scene of the Omagh bomb; Claire (whose identity was concealed), who talked about being raped by different men on separate occasions; and Mark McCormick who witnessed the attack on Westminster Bridge in March 2017 in which six people were killed.

Read more about Cognitive Behaviour Therapy at http://bit.ly/2SMwu3l

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Corona virus representation

Expert Input to Pandemic Challenges

COVID-19 Handbook for Students Entering the Workforce

Michael Duffy has co-produced a handbook for the Final Year Social Work students from Queen’s and Ulster who are graduating early to boost the healthcare workforce and its response to COVID-19. Entitled Preparing for Practice: Psychological Considerations during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the handbook is a collaboration with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the Health and Social Care Board. Michael contributed to similar handbooks, with Dr Ciaran Mulholland and colleagues in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, for medical students and junior doctors working with the pandemic. The medical students’ handbook was circulated to all 32 medical schools in the UK.

Similar handbooks are underway for nursing students and Allied Health Professionals. They outline the potential psychological impact of the current situation on students joining the system at this time. There are suggestions on how to manage their own health and wellbeing, whilst acknowledging the significant contribution they are making to the workforce.

Michael Duffy has been interviewed by various news media about the potential psychological impact on new health professionals of joining the work force now. He commented: ‘For the doctors, nurses and all the healthcare workers on the front line of this pandemic, the psychological effects will, in some ways, resemble the aftermath of a single large-scale event like the Omagh bomb. There should be support available for healthcare staff thanks to new trauma networks established in every health trust but workers still need to feel safe.

It is vitally important to provide high quality protective equipment for frontline staff. A sense of safety and security will help staff cope better psychologically with the demands of the job. Most staff will come through this pandemic without enduring mental health problems but all should be told that it is legitimate to take psychological help if needed and it is also important that they are provided with psychological help that is evidence based.’

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Interdisciplinary Research

Supporting Mental Health and Social Care

The Immersive Technologies and Digital Mental Health Network is an interdisciplinary partnership of academics, practitioners and technology companies focusing on therapeutic and pedagogical advances in mental health and social care through digital means. Hosted in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, a particular focus of the network is to increase the accessibility and capacity of immersive technologies among social science researchers, educators and practitioners. Immersive and digital technologies have shown value both as therapeutic and educational tools and some of the current projects attached to the network are detailed below:

I AM AWARE – This Wellcome Trust funded project, led by SSESW colleagues John Moriarty and Trisha Forbes in partnership with the mental health charity AWARE NI, is developing a digital platform designed to improve workplace well-being. It is being tested in two large organisations in Northern Ireland following a successful pilot in First Trust Bank.

VR Classroom – A cutting edge Virtual Reality experience to help teenagers on the autism spectrum focus better in class, this interactive, gamified, creative product simulates the classroom environment and enables children to engage with and respond to a ‘virtual teacher’. This project is led by Nichola Booth (SSESW), Brendan McCourt (NewRed TV) and Mickey Keenan (Ulster University).

Immersive 360 Video for Health and Social Care training sees the development of 360 video simulations to train social work students, nurses and midwives. Project leads (Paul Best [SSESW] and David Trainor) received funding from Future Screens NI to develop novel approaches designed to make 360 video more interactive. Collaborators include Janine Stockdale, Matt Birch, Carolyn Blair, Hanna Slatte, Michael McKnight, Paul Murphy and Franziska Schroeder.

You can sign up to the network at https://bit.ly/33zb1yE

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Research Project

Empowering People with Mental Health Problems

Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) funded a study on improving physical activity for people with severe and enduring mental health problems. The project team included our Disability Research Network, in collaboration with people with lived experience of mental health problems, Mental Health Foundation, Praxis Care, Platinum Training Institute, Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke and the Northern, South Eastern and Western Recovery Colleges. The research aimed to:

  • Increase knowledge about what works to engage people with severe and enduring mental health problems in sustained physical activity to a level that improves and protects their physical health.
  • Identify the facilitators and opportunities that help engage and empower people with severe mental health problems in physical activity.
  • Explore the current barriers to physical activity.

Trained co-researchers with lived experience of mental health problems worked on all stages of the project, including programme design, interviewing participants, data analysis and disseminating findings. Quantitative data was collected on the health and lifestyles of participants. Qualitative interviews and focus groups were used to explore the barriers and facilitators to physical activity and the impact of the programme developed by the project.

The study found that physical activity benefits people’s physical and mental health and plays an important role in the social aspect of people’s lives. It showed that those with mental health problems care about their physical health and, with access to the right kind of help, can be supported and encouraged to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives. For further information on this study see http://bit.ly/37S1J1m

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Sharing Innovative Practice

Five Nations Network

In February, SSESW academic Lesley Emerson welcomed to Belfast the annual conference of the Five Nations Network, a regional network of the Council of Europe providing a unique forum for collaboration in education for citizenship in England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Lesley is the Northern Ireland Lead for the Network. Entitled ‘Building Democratic Culture in School - empowering teachers as defenders of democracy', the conference brought together teacher educators, teachers and other educational stakeholders to discuss innovative practice.

In particular, local practitioners had an opportunity to share expertise. Amanda McNamee (Lagan College) outlined their approach to inclusion and how citizenship underpins their ethos, values and curriculum. Martine Mulhern (St Cecilia’s) shared the College’s work on being a School of Sanctuary. John McCloskey (Shimna Integrated) introduced delegates to his student-led work on religious diversity. The conference also included examples of development projects, funded by the Network, to enable teachers to extend their knowledge of and curriculum for Citizenship and Values Education. Martin Ferguson (Ashfield Girls') shared how this funding had supported his work on oracy in the curriculum. Previous projects were also showcased, including Ann Magowan's (Our Lady and St Patrick's College) development of deliberation and action through citizenship education. 

In addition to inputs from the 'Five Nations', the conference also had an international focus. Kari Kivinen from Helsinki French-Finnis School talked about developing a democratic culture in schools and led a workshop on Social Media and Young People. Delegates also heard insights on homework, accountability, the importance of equality and the joy of learning in the Finnish education system from Kristina Kaihari from the Finnish National Agency for Education.

Delegates appreciated greatly the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with others and reported that the event had encouraged them and inspired them to continue to promote and develop citizenship education in their schools.

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International Collaboration

Disability Research Partnerships in Cambodia

In January, an interdisciplinary group of Queen’s University academics, led by School of SSESW colleague Alan Maddock, facilitated research workshops on disability and mental health in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in Cambodia. The University team included representation from social work, psychiatry, social policy and psychology. The workshops aimed to identify the priority mental health and disability needs of Cambodian people from the perspective of local stakeholders, including the local government, academics, policy makers and the NGO sector in both sites in Cambodia.

The workshops developed a successful collaboration between the Queen’s team and the local Cambodian stakeholders. Together they developed priority actionable research projects, with a view to helping the Cambodian governmental departments and NGOs to meet the needs of people with disabilities and/or mental health issues. The group also looked at future collaborative research projects on a range of identified themes. Collaboration plans are underway, with the hope that long term research partnerships can be established between Queen’s University and the Cambodian stakeholders and that funding can be secured to implement the research priorities identified and the projects developed.

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New academic colleagues

We are delighted to welcome to the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) new academic colleagues (left to right) Dr Mel Engman, Dr Sultan Turkan and Dr Alan Maddock who have joined us over the course of the last year.

Mel Engman: ‘As an applied linguist descended from European settlers in the USA, I’m intrigued by the role of language in maintaining or disrupting systems of oppression. My recent research on heritage and Indigenous language education involved collaborating with Native American communities on language reclamation through developing digital tools, family language camps, bilingual storybooks and a language curriculum driven by traditional seasonal practices like gathering wild rice and tapping maple trees. I teach Language Awareness and Language Learning on our MSc TESOL and value the multilingual and multicultural perspectives that local and international students bring to class.’

Sultan Turkan: ‘As a language educator, I research bilingualism/multilingualism and its affordances for teaching heritage and additional languages. I am fascinated by language and its influence on identities, societal and cultural landscapes. I studied applied linguistics in Texas and a PhD at the University of Arizona in teaching and teacher education with a focus on immigrant children. It is energizing to explore at Queen’s the linguistic and cultural resources of bilinguals/multilinguals, helping teachers to lean in and relate to these resources.’

Alan Maddock: ‘I worked in Dublin as a mental health social worker for homeless people and later as a youth mental health social worker. For my PhD (Trinity College Dublin 2019), I researched whether mindfulness meditation improves psoriasis, anxiety, depression and psychological wellbeing (it does). My main research interests are mental health and homelessness. I teach across our Social Work degree and lead the Social Work in Context module. It gives students a critical overview of social work approaches to working with individuals, groups and communities, with a focus on understanding and reducing oppression.’

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Corona virus representation


An expert guide to wellbeing during lockdown

With social distancing measures isolating us from those we care about, School of SSESW academic Karen Winter has created these S.T.A.Y.W.E.L.L. tips to help you look after your mental health during lockdown. They are based on her many years experience as a social worker and team manager working on the frontline in child protection services in Northern Ireland. She says the most important coping mechanism we can utilise is hope. See https://bit.ly/2xUZoqC

Staff Profile

Joe Duffy

Joe Duffy is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work. 

Before joining Queen’s in 2006, I had taught social work and social care in several HE settings in Northern Ireland. I had also worked as a social worker and senior social worker in both residential and field social work settings in Northern Ireland since qualifying as a social worker in 1985. These frontline experiences are the foundation of my approach to teaching.

I am passionate about teaching and helping students in their professional development towards becoming social workers. My contribution to social work education has been recognised by Queen’s University Teaching Awards, the Northern Ireland Social Care Council, the UK Higher Education Academy National Teaching Award Scheme and, in 2018, a Fulbright All-Disciplines Scholar Award. 

My research centres on service user involvement in social work education, research and policy. I aim to help students understand challenging concepts in the social work curriculum such as the impact of trauma and political conflict. For many years I have worked with WAVE, an organisation supporting those affected by the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, inviting people with lived experience of bereavement, trauma and injury to share their experiences with social work students in the classroom.

My Fulbright Scholarship in 2018, a first in social work since 1967, involved a year in the USA, introducing this distinct pedagogical approach. Working with survivors of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks in New York, I helped bring their unique personal experiences to the classroom in New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. I replicated this teaching model with social work students at Belmont University, Nashville, working with community organisations whose members shared their experiences of homelessness, mental health challenges, addictions and trauma.

Continuing the Fulbright Research, I am leading the development of a Specialized Practice Curricular Guide for Service User Involvement for the USA accrediting body for Social Work. This will be an essential tool informing Social Work Education across the country. I have recently published a co-edited Routledge collection on the challenges facing social workers during political conflict in international contexts and have a co-edited Routledge International Handbook on Service User Involvement in Human Services Research and Education due for publication later in the summer.

In my spare time I enjoy music, playing guitar and working with plants. I have a passion for cooking and love stargazing.

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Student Success

Postgraduate Taught Presentation

We were delighted to welcome back to the University all the successful students who joined us for our Postgraduate Taught Presentation of parchments in January. The event was hosted in the beautiful Great Hall by School of SSESW academic lead Dr Anne Campbell.

On behalf of SSESW, our Director of Graduate Studies Dr Dirk Schubotz welcomed the students and their guests to the presentation, which marked their achievement in completing Certificates or Diplomas across all our postgraduate programmes.

Guest speaker Professor Ian Young (Chief Scientific Advisor, Department of Health, and Director of HSC Research and Development) congratulated the students on their success and highlighted that their completion of courses such as these, which extend their knowledge base, not only supports their professional development but also enhances the experience of those in their care.

Our academic programme leads then presented parchments to the completing students while family and friends took photos of the moment. After the formal part of the ceremony, students enjoyed a catch up with fellow students and School of SSESW staff over a light lunch. We look forward to welcoming many of them back to Queen’s for the next stage of their study.

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Green and Blue Spaces

How being outdoors can benefit our mental health

Members of the Disability Research Network in the School of SSESW are working with colleagues across the University, the Mental Health Foundation and Praxis Care on a new project addressing two questions to assess the feasibility of a larger scale intervention project:

(1) How do people with serious and enduring mental illness perceive, use and benefit from green and blue space?

(2) Does the interaction with green and blue spaces differ between people with serious mental illness and the general population?

Using an exploratory sequential mixed methods design, peer researchers will conduct qualitative interviews with mental health service users. These data will be used to design a quantitative survey to explore the relevant themes with a sub-sample of the Closing The Gap Health and Wellbeing Cohort and a general population sample.

The team of investigators on the research project include: Claire McCartan, Gavin Davidson (School of SSESW, Queen’s University), Lee Knifton, Chris White (Mental Health Foundation), Paul Webb (Praxis Care), and Liam Bradley, Katherine Greer (Peer Researchers).

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Cover of Caroline Linse's book

New Book

International Collaboration on Essential Skills

TESOL specialist and SSESW academic Caroline Linse has co-written a book with Erik von Hahn (Tufts University School of Medicine) and Sheldon H Horowitz (National Center for Learning Disabilities, Washington, DC). Essential Skills for Struggling Learners: A Framework for Student Support Teams outlines the skills that contribute to learning and a systematic way to help students with a wide range of learning difficulties. This innovative planning guide helps to identify and prioritize the essential skills that students with and without learning difficulties need to succeed.

Practical Materials: Each chapter offers an in-depth Case Study example, a Skills Observation Sheet for notetaking during student observations, and a Skills Framework for use as a quick reference on skills when making observations and developing IEPs. Two practical appendices walk school professionals and team leaders through the collaborative process of putting the frameworks in the book into practice. See more at https://bit.ly/2VKpOo9

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Dr Kimberly Ilosvay

Visiting Scholars

Welcoming International Expertise

We are looking forward to welcoming to Queen’s University the new Fulbright Global Scholar Dr Kimberly Ilosvay from the University of Portland. She will be working on teaching and research projects under the theme of ‘Interculturality and Internationalization’ in Ecuador, Northern Ireland and Tanzania. Working with academics and students in these three countries will provide rich opportunities for cultural and scholarly exchange and for building international partnerships. At Queen’s, Kimberly will be working with Aisling O'Boyle (SSESW) and colleagues from across the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Grace Ese-osa Idahosa (University of Johannesburg) is a Visiting Research Fellow from October 2019 to September 2020. She is working with SSESW academic Dina Zoe Belluigi on a project entitled Mid-level Managers Agency for Transformation in Post-Conflict Higher Education. It explores how university middle-management, who are in key positions to engender social change in the higher education sector in Northern Ireland and South Africa, can be better empowered to enact their agency; and in what ways this is impacted by their gender and social location.

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International scholar

Visiting Research Professor

Professor Kaori Tsukazaki, Vice President of the National Institute of Technology, Kagoshima College, Japan, is spending some time as a Visiting Research Professor in the School of SSESW. Kaori is a graduate of Nagasaki University and Kyushu University and is the first female professor in the 56-year history of Kagoshima College. Her academic research focuses on the empowerment of female students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and the cultural contexts of English Language Teaching.

Her project on empowering women in STEM, entitled ‘Robogals Kagoshima’, was included in the White Paper on Gender Equality produced by the Japanese government in June 2019. Professor Tsukazaki was a Fulbright Scholar and has received a prestigious award from KOSEN National Institute of Technology in Tokyo acknowledging her extensive contribution to education.

Professor Tsukazaki’s visit to Queen’s University is facilitating international research collaboration with Aisling O’Boyle, our Director of Internationalization, and with a number of SSESW colleagues in the fields of Education and Social Sciences.

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Research Outcomes

Support for Abuse Victims with a Learning Disability

In January, SSESW academic Berni Kelly presented at the launch of the findings from the Just US collaborative research project which aimed to identify and reduce barriers to accessing justice and support for victims of sexual violence and abuse who have a learning disability. The project was led by Positive Futures in collaboration with Compass Advocacy Network, Informing Choices NI, Nexus NI, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) and SSESW.

The project followed a co-production model whereby four advocates with a learning disability co-led and delivered the project. Following a literature review by SSESW, a consultation was completed with 26 people with a learning disability to evaluate their awareness of criminal justice processes and support services. In addition, 18 police and PPS professionals were consulted on their experience of working with people with a learning disability. The project also provided a pilot training programme on learning disability for the PSNI and PPS. 

Outputs from the project include: a screening tool to support first response officers and call handlers to identify if a victim (or suspect) has a learning disability; a Just US card for people with a learning disability to share their communication preferences with criminal justice professionals; and an accessible guide and short animated video summary on the criminal justice system for people with learning disabilities.

A pilot counselling programme for victims of sexual violence and abuse who have a learning disability was simultaneously delivered by Nexus with and evaluated by SSESW. The evaluation findings were largely positive, highlighting the benefits of inclusive counselling programmes for people with learning disabilities and the barriers to accessing therapeutic support. See more at https://www.justusni.org/about

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Dr Dirk Schubotz

New Book

Participatory Research

We are very pleased to announce the publication of a new book by School of SSESW academic Dirk Schubotz. Published by SAGE publications, 'Participatory Research: Why and How to Involve People in Research' takes an accessible approach to explaining the theory that grounds participatory research and offers students practical strategies for how and when to choose and apply a wide range of these methods. The book is available at https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/participatory-research/book241126

path leading to McClay Lbrary from Lanyon

Collaboration and Impact

Connecting Local and Global Expertise

  • Professor Tony Gallagher is an education specialist with many years experience of working closely with schools through the Shared Education programme. Tony shared with the HIP Psychology podcast audience his views on how schools were coping with the disruption caused by COVID-19. He outlined how teachers and schools ‘responded absolutely magnificently’ during preparations to move teaching online, and beyond, by engaging across schools and sharing resources. The podcast is available at https://bit.ly/3eLwZUs
  • Professor Laura Lundy provided expert advice to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on enhancing children’s participation in its work, using the Lundy model as a frame for evaluating progress. The session in Geneva was a follow-up to one conducted by Laura in 2013 following which the Committee significantly enhanced its engagement with children. Based on children’s rights research conducted locally, nationally and internationally, Laura was a visiting professor at Massey University in New Zealand in February. She gave keynotes at two conferences on children’s participation in educational decision-making and met researchers from several universities to advise on involving children in the governance of research.
  • Dr Jenny du Preez (Nelson Mandela University) was a Visiting Research Fellow from September 2019 to March 2020, working with Dr Dina Belluigi on developing themes emerging from a joint Winter School held at Nelson Mandela University in August 2019 entitled Emancipatory Imaginations: Advancing Critical University Studies.

  • Dr Grace Ese-osa Idahosa (University of Johannesburg) is a Visiting Research Fellow from October 2019 to September 2020, working with SSESW academic Dr Dina Belluigi on a project entitled Mid-level Managers Agency for Transformation in Post-Conflict Higher Education. It explores how university middle-management can be better empowered to enact their agency; and how this is impacted by their gender and social location.
  • Dr Nicolás Brando has been awarded a Newton International Fellowship by the British Academy to join our Centre for Children’s Rights for the next two years. The project will be supervised and supported by Professor Laura Lundy and Professor Emeritus David Archard. Nicolás is a Colombian philosopher, working on ethics, moral and political philosophy. His research studies the treatment of vulnerable and marginalised populations in liberal societies, with a particular focus on issues of discrimination and the protection of rights of children.
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Winter 2019/20

Lead Article

Inclusive Education in Northern Ireland

In September, our Disability Research Network (DRN) held a hugely successful event at Queen’s, looking at Opportunities and Challenges for Inclusive Education in Northern Ireland. The event brought together delegates from across various sectors including the Department of Education, Education Authority, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Equality Commission, children’s sector organisations, schools, parents, researchers and academics.

It included a presentation from Professor Sally Tomlinson (left) from Goldsmiths, University of London, on the ‘Ins and Outs of Inclusion’, where she outlined the ways in which children with disabilities have tended to be excluded from education over time as a result of education policies.

Bronagh Byrne (third right, Co-Chair of DRN) highlighted developments in the right to inclusive education under international law and presented findings from an analysis of United Nations responses to policy and practice across 70 global countries.

The event concluded with a panel session facilitated by Professor Vicki Graf (third left) from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, a leading international figure in inclusive education. The session included expert education input from: Kevin Donaghy (second right), principal of St Ronan’s Primary School, Newry; Michael Allen (right), principal of Lisneal College, Londonderry; and Jonathan Gray (second left), principal of Arvalee School and Resource Centre, Omagh. All three panellists shared their vision for inclusion and examples of best practice.

As a result of the professional exchanges and networks established at the event, and a desire for further debate, a ‘Knowledge Exchange Hub on Inclusive Education’ is being developed, to continue the conversation through a combination of seminars and working group discussions. For more information or to join the Hub, contact Dr Bronagh Byrne, b.byrne@qub. ac.uk

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Student Profile

Brenda Brady

Brenda Brady is a Level 3 student on our undergraduate BSW degree, a professional qualification in Social Work. She is a peer mentor for other students. 

I am a mother of twins who have just started their GSCE’s. Alongside my own life experience, I have worked in the statutory and voluntary sectors in varying roles which prepared and inspired me to start my Social Work degree in September 2017.

I was a stay-at-home mum for a number of years during which I studied English Literature part-time but I always knew I wanted to be a social worker. I have always cared about helping others, which is something that was instilled in me by my parents, who both worked in the health service for 40 years. 

Queen’s is a fantastic place to study and has opened up so many opportunities for me via the degree programme and through other learning avenues related to the social sciences in exploring social justice, research and simulated learning. The campus is beautiful and there is always a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Since starting the Social Work degree I have been challenged to think more deeply and critically about different aspects of society and how these impact individuals and communities. I have gained knowledge and skills to pursue a professional career in social work. I have met great friends and been taught by academics with a wealth of expertise that I can bring to practice.

Queen’s library facilities are excellent and the librarians are always there to point you in the right direction. The student portal is central to navigating your learning and accessing resources for your subject. It has a plethora of information on the Students’ Union, wellbeing and accessing student support services. The Student Guidance Centre, peer mentoring and student reps are available for additional support and advice. Returning to university was a little overwhelming. However, I have had opportunities to attend a diverse range of activities including courses, open days and workshops. I have been able to listen to international speakers and engage with other students from across the world. I have been on placement, made fantastic friends and find the Queen’s Film Theatre is a brilliant way to take time out from studying. When I graduate I hope to begin professional practice as social worker and to apply for a Master’s in Social Science Research at the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work.

For more information about our degrees see www.qub.ac.uk/ssesw

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International Impact

Children's Rights in New Zealand

Academic Laura Lundy (second left) was in New Zealand in August on a trip organised by Victoria University of Wellington and funded by the Law Foundation for New Zealand. With fellow children’s rights experts Ursula Kilkelly (University College Cork, third left), Bruce Adamson (Scottish Children’s Commissioner) and Justice Clarence Nelson (Supreme Court of Samoa and member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child) she received a warm Pasifika welcome (photo courtesy of Office of the Children’s Commissioner, New Zealand). 

Laura gave a keynote at a Victoria University two-day symposium marking the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). She also presented at a seminar for civil society on Making Child Rights Real in Aotearoa; discussed her child rights approach with staff in the Children’s Commissioner’s office; took part in a roundtable conversation with Pasifika lawyers on child law and culture; and carried out training on ‘The Lundy Model’ of child participation for over 60 staff at Oranga Tamariki (the Department of Children) who use the model in their work.

While in New Zealand, Laura appeared on ‘The Nation’ news show, where she accompanied the country’s Children’s Commissioner, Andrew Becroft (right), in a discussion about ensuring implementation in New Zealand of the UNCRC, for Maori children in particular. The trip concluded with a reception, hosted by the Irish Embassy, to mark the expert input of Professors Lundy and Kilkelly to the events in Wellington. Laura said of her trip: ‘It was a privilege to be invited to New Zealand/Aotearoa, where the Lundy model of participation is used so widely, to share my research and understanding of children’s rights and participation and to learn about their efforts and challenges in delivering children’s rights in a way that is culturally appropriate and acceptable’.

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Learning Together

New undergraduate module at Hydebank Wood College

The School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) has developed an innovative new undergraduate module called Reintegration After Prison, being offered for the first time this academic year and delivered in HM Hydebank Wood College and Women’s Prison, Belfast. This module, organised by SSESW academics Shadd Maruna and Gillian McNaull, is part of the Learning Together movement led by the University of Cambridge and involving partnerships between prisons and universities across the UK and beyond. Read about this initiative at http://bit.ly/2o9eN0W

At Hydebank Wood, a number of SSESW students are attending classes in the facility alongside a group of students from Hydebank Wood drawn from both the male facility (formerly known as the Young Offenders Institute, housing 18-21 year olds) and Northern Ireland’s only Women’s Prison (Ash House) based at the same site. In recent years, Hydebank Wood has transformed into a learning environment with a variety of vocational and educational courses, and a small number of students already pursue higher education through the Open University. The new Learning Together module will offer students at Hydebank Wood a first taste of a university-level classroom, hopefully encouraging some of them to continue with third level education upon release. For their part, the SSESW students have the opportunity to learn about issues of rehabilitation and reform inside an actual penal facility, studying alongside fellow students with considerable lived experience to share.

The partnership is also a knowledge exchange opportunity for Queen’s University and the Northern Ireland Prison Service, with both institutions benefiting through the collective initiative. For more information contact Professor Shadd Maruna at s.maruna@qub. ac.uk or tel +44 (0)28 9097 5986

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Young People, Policing and Stop and Search

School of SSESW criminologist John Topping was delighted to join youth delegates in welcoming the new Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Simon Byrne, to our packed conference Patten 20 Years On: Young People, Policing and Stop and Search in September. Its main aim was to examine the current status and evidence around the policing of children and young people by the PSNI, with a specific focus on police stop and search powers. 


The unique conference was supported by our Crime and Social Justice research group and organised in partnership with two leading young people’s rights and advocacy organisations, Include Youth and the Children’s Law Centre, who supported young people in putting their views and questions to conference speakers. 

In addition to input from John Topping, based on his current policing research related to stop and search, the conference had a range of international keynote speakers and Young People, Policing and Stop and Search experts including: Professor Ann Skelton (UN Committee on the Rights of the Child); Debbie Watters (Northern Ireland Policing Board); Katrina Ffrench (StopWatch), Professor Ben Bradford (Global City Policing and the Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science); Tim Mairs (PSNI); Paul Holmes (Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland); and Koulla Yiasouma (Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People).

Conference themes included the PSNI’s use of stop and search powers against young people, current evidence around policing practice, lessons from England around stop and search, and policing innovations to support the mental health needs of those interfacing with police. Also on the programme was a superb performance from C21 Theatre Company encapsulating young people’s experiences of stop and search.

For more information about the research behind the event see http://bit.ly/2LK58Y4

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Training and Resources

Developing Training from a Children's Rights Perspective

Members of our Centre for Children’s Rights (CCR) have been leading a partnership project aimed at enhancing child-centred responses to violence against children. The project is called Participation for Protection (P4P) and includes Katrina Lloyd, Laura Lundy, Siobhan McAlister, Michelle Templeton and Karen Winter. It has produced training resources informed by consultation with over 1300 children across Europe. The resources were co-designed with children and young people in Northern Ireland, from St Ita’s Primary School, Include Youth and Newstart Education Centre. The resources are being rolled out by project partners in Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Republic of Ireland and Romania.

The CCR team has been delivering training in Northern Ireland, in collaboration with Include Youth, for a wide range of professionals including youth workers, social workers, educators and those working in the criminal justice system. While many professionals are trained in protecting children and responding to those who experience violence, such training is often informed from an adult perspective.

Participation for Protection (P4P) represents a dedicated effort to inform training from a child’s perspective. The aim is to enhance understanding of what violence means to children, the factors that impact on their ability and willingness to disclose violence, and their views on what constitutes ‘good’/ child-centred support. Some of the findings from the Participation for Protection survey carried out with school children across partner countries, on their understanding of violence and their views on helpful responses, are available at: participationforprotection.wordpress.com. A training package and free resources informed by the consultations with children can be downloaded from the CCR website at www.qub.ac.uk/ccr.

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two post-primary pupils from different schools wearing different school uniforms standing against a brick wall covered in graffitti

National Impact Research Project

Political Economies and Consequences of School Exclusion

Laura Lundy, Gavin Duffy, Tony Gallagher and Gareth Robinson are to collaborate with academics from Oxford, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Reading and London School of Economics on a multidisciplinary research project examining the political economies and consequences of school exclusion across the UK. The Economic and Social Research Council has awarded £2,550,850 for research on the cost of exclusions at individual, institutional and system levels, as well as pupils’ rights, entitlements, protection and wellbeing, and the landscapes of exclusion across the four UK jurisdictions. 

There are vast differences in the rates of permanent school exclusion across the UK with numbers rising rapidly in England but remaining relatively low or even falling in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Latest figures show there were 7,900 permanent exclusions in England compared to fifteen in Northern Ireland and just five in Scotland. 

Preliminary work conducted by the research team illustrated that pressures on schools to perform well in examination league tables can lead to the exclusion of pupils whose predicted attainment would weaken overall school performance. As a consequence, pupils who do not conform to the rules can be excluded to the social margins of schooling. The study is led by Professor Harry Daniels and Associate Professor Ian Thompson (Oxford). Co-Investigator Gavin Duffy (SSESW) said: ‘As a multidisciplinary team we want to understand more about the stark differences in the rates of fixed and permanent exclusions across the four jurisdictions. We are also keen to learn more about those practices in schools which could be described as informal or unregulated as this may give us a more accurate picture of school exclusion.’

The research is organised into three work strands: i. the landscapes of exclusion, which will examine the policy and legal frameworks and the costs of exclusions in each jurisdiction; ii. the experiences of exclusion, focusing on the perspectives of pupils and their families, practitioners, school leadership and other education professionals; and iii. a strand that will integrate these findings to ensure that the learning is continuous as the research develops a coherent multidisciplinary understanding of the political economies of exclusion.

Laura Lundy (SSESW) commented: ‘I am delighted that the rights-based approach to research that we have pioneered in the Centre for Children’s Rights at SSESW will be used across the four jurisdictions involved in the study to ensure that children and young people impacted by school exclusion will be working with us directly to shape the research project and understand the findings.’

These analyses will involve the cross cutting themes of: children’s rights, youth crime, values and the role of religion, geographical context, gender and ethnicity, social class, special needs and disability, and mental health.

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Staff Profile

Jonathan Heaney

Lecturer Dr Jonathan G Heaney is Programme Director for Sociology. He tweets as @jonathangheaney and blogs at theorytypes.wordpress.com

I was delighted to join the Sociology team at Queen’s in 2014, six months after graduating from my PhD at National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway. I returned to education as a mature student in 2004, completing a BA in Sociology, Politics and Economics at NUI Galway in 2007.

My PhD project was funded by an Irish Research Council ‘Government of Ireland Scholarship’ Scheme and studied emotions and social change in late modernity in general, and the Republic of Ireland in particular.

My primary research interests are interdisciplinary and lie in social, sociological and political theory, at the intersections of Sociology and Politics. I am especially interested in the relationship and dynamics of emotions and power, and how they form and change our social lives. My publications explore these topics and the relationship between emotions, nationalism and national identity. More recent interests concern the interplay of emotion and power in contemporary party politics. I aim to combine insights from Political Sociology and the Sociology of Emotions to contribute to a new emerging sub-field - the Political Sociology of Emotions – to examine the increasing importance, visibility and deployment of emotions by politicians. We appear to be living in an age of emotional politics and my work aims to help us better understand it.

I am passionate about teaching and these ideas and themes also feature in my classes. In addition to teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses in social theory, I am preparing a new module on the Political Sociology of Emotions that explores the role of emotion and power in relation to the rise of populism, Trump, Brexit, as well as in situations of war, conflict and post-conflict. In recent years, I have coordinated the European Sociological Association’s Research Network on Emotions and organized conferences (in Edinburgh, Manchester, Stockholm, Athens and elsewhere) featuring leading emotion scholars from around the globe.

As a relatively new, and not exactly ‘young’, father of a wonderful daughter, Hazel, who is three and a half, I don’t have much time for hobbies. I enjoy film and organize the Sociological Cinema Series at the Queen’s Film Theatre in Belfast. Staff, students and the general public watch a film, after which academics and the audience draw out and discuss the various Sociological themes within the movie. I also like to read, especially science/speculative fiction, and poetry.

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International Impact

Developing the Social Work Curriculum in the USA

A US-UK Fulbright Scholarship saw School of SSESW academic Joe Duffy spend last academic year in the USA, including teaching at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work where he collaborated with Dr Carol Tosone (NYU) and seven survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre to facilitate Social Work students’ conversations with the survivors about the impact that trauma had on their lives.

He also spent time at Belmont University (Nashville), working with community organisations supporting people affected by poverty, homelessness, domestic abuse and addictions. Clients from these groups were directly involved, with Joe, in sharing their experiences with third year Belmont Social Work students as part of their preparations for field practice. 

Joe’s unique teaching sessions introduced this service user involvement to the Social Work curriculum in the USA to help Social Work students understand trauma and effective behaviours when helping clients. He drew on his many years of integrating people with lived experience in Northern Ireland into social work classrooms to cultivate a culture of trust and partnership in the classes, giving clients and survivors control of the content by agreeing questions in advance.

In September, Joe held a research launch in New York where he presented results from his evaluation on the impact of his teaching approach on the students’ knowledge development. Findings showed that hearing his facilitated conversations with people with lived experience of trauma had a marked impact on the students’ understanding of it. They felt that Joe’s sessions taught them: careful, respectful listening; the importance of person-centredness, a non-judgmental approach and good communication skills; and how best to process emotions when hearing trauma narratives. Dr Tosone continues to use Joe Duffy’s model of incorporating input from 9/11 survivors in her module on the Treatment of Trauma.

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Two primary school aged boys playing with toy cars.

Research Impact

Centre for Behaviour Analysis - update

  • In collaboration with Ulster University, Parents’ Education as Autism Therapists (PEAT) and Belfast City Airport, Centre colleagues enabled families living with a diagnosis of autism to prepare for their holidays by visiting the airport in June and experiencing the steps involved in boarding a plane. Video models, which are an evidencebased area of research for teaching new skills such as self-management and social skills, were devised by the Centre and can be accessed at http://bit.ly/2M99Qh3
  • Catherine Storey was elected Secretary of the European Association of Behaviour Analysis, an international organisation that promotes Behaviour Analysis and provides an international forum for matters relevant to behaviour analysis.
  • Katerina Dounavi and PhD students Emma Craig and Jenny Ferguson have written a chapter in the Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders (Ed. Prof Volkmar, Yale University School of Medicine), describing current knowledge on the use of telehealth, the distribution of health-related services and training via technology, for the delivery of behaviour analytic interventions such as training carers and parents to teach independence skills to children and young people with an ASD. 
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Lanyon Building

Research Impact

Disability Research Network - update

  • Berni Kelly and colleagues have been awarded funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund to undertake a feasibility study, Building Positive Futures: A CrossCountry Pilot Study on Youth Transitions from Out-of-Home Care in Africa, working with partners in Uganda, Ghana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The project will develop the methodology of the Growth beyond the Town care-leaving study in South Africa to incorporate a peer research approach and input from care leavers (across experiences of disability, gender and culture) and to test its feasibility for a cross-country study on care leaving in Africa. 
  • The DRN was delighted to welcome Dr Sonali Shah (University of Birmingham) in September to present on her current research on the healthcare needs of girls and women with cerebral palsy.

  • DRN has received funding from the Department for the Economy Global Challenges Research Fund to examine the physical and mental health needs of people with disabilities in Cambodia. Alan Maddock is the Principal Investigator and the CoInvestigators are Paul Best, Bronagh Byrne, Anne Campbell, Gavin Davidson, Berni Kelly, Lorna Montgomery and Ciaran Mullholland. The project is a partnership with the voluntary sector organisation Exceed.
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two children using laptops

Research Impact

Centre for Children's Rights - update

  • Laura Lundy, Siobhan McAlister and Michelle Templeton led a consultation earlier this year with 274 children deprived of their liberty in 22 countries. The consultation, a collaboration with Terres des Hommes and Professor Ursula Kilkelly and Dr Louise Forde from University College Cork, was part of the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty. It employed the Centre’s unique child rights-based research methodology, ensuring that the views of children in a range of settings (including immigration, youth justice and other institutions) and global contexts were integral to the study and its recommendations to the world’s governments. 
  • Laura Lundy was at the University of Ghana in Accra in June as part of a British Academy grant led by Dr Afua Twun-Danso Imoh (University of Sheffield). The project enables early career researchers in childhood studies in West Africa to be mentored by editors of leading childhood journals. Laura, joint Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Children’s Rights, mentors two early career scholars from Nigeria, supporting them to get their work published in international journals.
  • While in Accra, Laura visited the Ghana headquarters of World Vision to meet two young people from its Young Leaders programme. Laura Lundy and Michelle Templeton are conducting a research project with World Vision, looking at the experience of children in the programme who participated in international events in New York, Brussels and Geneva. World Vision have adopted Laura’s model of participation (the Lundy Model) as core to their global strategy on child participation and gender equality.
  • Judith Thompson, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Victims and Survivors, attended a celebration at Queen’s in June to thank young people involved in advisory groups on a project examining the transgenerational impacts of the Northern Ireland conflict on young people.
  • The Centre hosted seminars with Dr Jenna Gillet-Swan (Queensland University of Technology) in September and Dr Noam Peleg (University of New South Wales, Sydney) in October. Jenna presented her work on student voice while Noam presented his work on the child’s right to development. The Centre is hosting a visiting researcher from the University of Murcia, Spain. Carmen Maria Carabello is a doctoral student focusing on inclusive education. 
  • In September, Laura gave a keynote at the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children Annual Conference. Hosted in Belfast by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, the conference addressed ‘Children’s rights in the digital environment’. Laura Lundy, Bronagh Byrne and young advisors with disabilities hosted a session with their advisory group of children with disabilities who work on their Council of Europe study on the digital rights of children with disabilities.
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Nicola Booth presenting in Australia

Lead Article

Autism and Puberty: Strategies to Utilise for Teaching

In addition to her keynote on Beyond childhood: preparing for adulthood, with an emphasis on individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), at the ABA Today 2019 international conference (Applied Behaviour Analysis) in Melbourne in July, School of SSESW academic Nichola Booth delivered a three-hour masterclass for delegates at the conference. Entitled ‘Puberty, anxiety and autism: it will happen! Understanding the impact on your teen and practical strategies to help’, the workshop centred on Nichola’s work and research within our Centre for Behaviour Analysis. 

The masterclass was attended by an international audience of around 60 delegates from a variety of professional backgrounds and disciplines including teaching, medicine and social work. Also in the audience were Applied Behaviour Analysis practitioners, students of Psychology and Special Education from Monash University, Melbourne, and parents and carers of individuals on the autism spectrum.

Nichola’s masterclass provided attendees with effective solutions for behavioural difficulties that may arise during puberty for individuals with autism. All strategies and interventions were based on key principles and teaching technologies derived from the science of Applied Behaviour Analysis. The masterclass enabled attendees to effectively teach key life skills that could help make the transition to puberty easier for individuals in hospitals, residential settings, schools and the home.

Puberty for individuals with an ASD is a topic which is often overlooked and underresearched. By offering solutions from practice in the applied sector, Nichola was able to use science and experiences to highlight to professionals and other delegates that puberty preparation for individuals with an ASD is a topic which requires explicit and continuous teaching.

For more information contact Dr Nichola Booth at n.booth@qub.ac.uk or tel +44 (0)28 9097 3264

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PGCE students at NICILT


Promoting Language Learning in Northern Ireland

Our Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (NICILT) provides an important service for schools and for staff and students on our Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). It is funded by the Department of Education to promote and support language teaching and learning. 

NICILT raises awareness of European Day of Languages (EDL), celebrated on 26 September, and this year NICILT launched a new EDL-themed poetry competition for Year 9 pupils.

It encouraged pupils to develop their Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities, dictionary and language skills and to further understand the purpose of EDL. NICILT also visited All Saints College, Belfast, to promote EDL and provide a Languages for Employability workshop for 160 Year 10 pupils. 

In October, NICILT launched its first four-day mini film festival for Year 10 pupils of French and Spanish. These events, held at Queen’s Film Theatre, attracted around 800 pupils to Queen’s and included guided campus tours by our PGCE students. Schools were also provided with tailored teaching materials reflecting the statutory requirements in modern languages in the curriculum.

NICILT is running a new Ambassadors scheme in Northern Ireland in collaboration with the School of Arts, English and Languages at Queen’s. The scheme, set up by the Open World Research Initiative and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, links post-primary pupils and university students to promote languages and motivate pupils to opt into languages at A Level. The 175 pupils taking part in the Ambassadors scheme attended an immersion day at Queen’s in October, which included subjectspecific sessions and guided tours of the University with undergraduate ambassadors and our PGCE modern language students (pictured at our resource centre).

For more information visit www.qub.ac.uk/schools/nicilt or the NICILT Facebook page.

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Staff Profile

Danielle Turney

Professor Danielle Turney is our Social Work Subject Lead. She joined the School of SSESW in August 2018.

Having lived and worked in England all my life, I have had a fascinating year getting to know Belfast and learning about the similarities and differences between social work in England and Northern Ireland. While studying philosophy and politics at Manchester University I got involved in different community/welfare-related activities. I had not initially thought about a career in social work, but by the end of my degree it seemed like the ‘next step’.

Embarking on a Masters in Social Work programme at Sussex University was the start of a significant learning process (still under way!) that introduced me to the complexity, challenges and opportunities that social work presents. 

I have been involved in social work one way or another ever since – first as a local authority social worker in South London, later as a PhD student and then as a social work educator and researcher. Clearly something hooked me in and has continued to demand my interest and attention! Supporting the learning of social workers – whether working with people at the start of their professional careers, or with established practitioners who want to develop and extend their knowledge and skills – has been a key part of my academic life, and I taught on and/or managed programmes of qualifying and post-qualifying education at Goldsmiths London University, the Open University, and the University of Bristol before my move to Queen’s.

As a researcher, my interests focus mainly on three broad areas: child welfare and protection, in particular child neglect; relationship-based practice; and social work assessment, decision-making and professional judgement. From my PhD research exploring anti-racist practice in social work onwards, my work has been underpinned by my interest in theory building. Social work involves highly complex activities and relationships, and decisionmaking in conditions of uncertainty. Theory does not furnish ready answers, but can sharpen understanding of the hard questions posed by social work practice, deepen appreciation of why they are hard, and aid reflection on how to work through to answers expressed through practice.

My core concern is to make theory relevant to specific, recurrent questions about real world social work – for example, drawing on care ethics to explore understandings of child neglect, and using Recognition Theory to help understand the dynamics of practice with ‘involuntary’ clients of social services. I look forward to developing my work in the context of the concerns of everyday practice here in Northern Ireland.

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Low shot of lanyon building and war memorial with bright blue sky

Contested Societies

Higher Education and Social Justice

As part of our research focus on Contested Societies, academic Dina Belluigi (right) hosted a seminar in September at Queen’s University entitled ‘At the Margins of the University: Scholarship and practice of higher education transformation and disruption in contexts of post conflict, inequality and oppression’.

Jenny Boźena du Preez (Nelson Mandela University, third right), Dina Belluigi and Tony Gallagher (SSESW, back row, second left) reflected on the Emancipatory Imaginations: Advancing Critical University Studies Winter School held in South Africa in August, involving invited scholars and practitioners from Ghana, India, Kenya, Ireland, South Africa, the UK, Cyprus, Germany and Canada. A collaboration between Dina Belluigi and Andre Keet (Nelson Mandela University), the Winter School questioned where social justice concerns sit within transformations of higher education and related scholarship.

Naomi Lumutenga (HERS-EA, second right) discussed the educational non-profit organization Higher Education Resource Services Eastern Africa, which advances women’s leadership in higher education in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Ethiopia. The woman-centred curriculum addresses personal and institutional barriers, positioning female academics to undertake challenge-based research which informs policy and grassroots capacity development.

Highlighting the impact of the Syrian crisis on academics with little protection when in exile, Tom Parkinson (University of Kent, back row, third left) and Dina Belluigi (SSESW) reflected on roundtables held in partnership with The Council for At Risk Academics in June in Istanbul. Academics from international communities discussed the challenges of sustaining their academic work and authority under conditions of crisis, exile, political oppression and post-conflict legacies in locations such as Belarus, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kenya, Northern Ireland, Palestine, Serbia and South Africa.

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Mandi MacDonald and John Pinkerton with research partners in South Africa

Supporting International Development

Challenging Inequality in South Africa through Mentoring

A team of social work academics and researchers, led by School of SSESW academic Mandi MacDonald (fourth right), is collaborating with the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town to evaluate the contribution of formal youth mentoring in promoting the wellbeing of under-served youth in South Africa.

They are partnering with SAYes, a Cape Town based NGO working with children’s homes to offer transition mentoring to young people preparing to leave care.

South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world, with significant disparities in opportunity and income, particularly for youth, over half of whom live in poverty. Inequality and social exclusion are sharply focused in the lives of young people living in care and care leavers. 

This pilot project, funded by the Department for the Economy Global Challenges Research Fund, will evaluate the SAYes programme as a case study to explore whether formal mentoring offers an effective, scalable contribution to South Africa’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The SSESW research team, including Berni Kelly, John Pinkerton and Montse Fargas, had a busy and productive visit to Cape Town in September. Working with Professor Shanaaz Mathews and Jenna-Lee Marco from the Children’s Institute, they interviewed 37 care experienced young people, 9 mentors and 8 carers. They heard how mentors offer muchvalued social support and help with making informed life choices. The team will return to South Africa in February 2020 to discuss the findings with young people, practitioners, academics and policy makers. It is hoped that these first-hand accounts will lay a foundation for developing a larger study, with other African and international partners, into the feasibility of formal mentoring as a means of challenging inequality for young people in care and leaving care.

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John Topping meeting with academics from Sao Paulo

International Collaborative Research

Criminology Links with Sao Paulo, Brazil

As part of a British Academy grant, SSESW Criminologist John Topping welcomed to Queen’s University in October the research partners from the Federal University of Sao Paulo (FUSP), Brazil. The project is entitled Policing Protests and the Quality of Democracy in Brazil and Northern Ireland. It involves research in both countries examining the dynamics and parameters of protests, their meaning and how they are Criminology Links with Sao Paulo, Brazil policed. It includes both empirical research and knowledge exchange between Queen’s and the FUSP. While in Belfast, the University of Sao Paulo partners met with Harry Maguire (second left), Director of Community Restorative Justice Ireland, and spent time with policing experts discussing the legal and policy framework related to parades and protests in Northern Ireland.

Angela Rogan - UA commendation

Student Success

Global Undergraduate Awards Commendation

For the third year in a row, an SSESW undergraduate student has been recognised as a Highly Commended entrant in the Sociology & Social Policy category of the Global Undergraduate Awards (UA), the world’s largest academic awards programme identifying leading creative thinkers and problem-solvers through their undergraduate coursework. Written for his Social Policy module on gerontology, Freddie Finlay’s paper, Demography is not Destiny was assessed by an international panel of expert judges from world leading academic institutions.

UA provides top performing students with support and opportunities to raise their profiles at a summit in Dublin where they can network with world-renowned speakers, academics and potential employers and attend workshops designed to help them share research and begin their path after undergraduate study.

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Teaching Excellence

Award Winning PGCE Maths Teaching

Academic Ian Cantley picked up the Most Inspirational Teaching Award at this year’s Queen’s University Students’ Union Education Awards. Ian teaches on our PGCE Mathematics course and was overwhelmed to hear that every one of his PGCE students nominated him for the award. Some of them attended the awards ceremony to make the presentation to him and represent the PGCE Mathematics group, whose nominations included the comments:

Ian genuinely cares about each and every one of us, which comes across in his teaching, feedback and encouragement. He has challenged us immensely throughout, and prepared us all for going out into our placement schools.’ 

Ian not only has a passion for PGCE and his teaching, but a passion for all young people in Northern Ireland to receive an outstanding education.

Ian commented: ‘It is an immense privilege, and responsibility, to teach and mentor future teachers on the PGCE Mathematics programme. I aim to instil a passion for mathematics education in my students since I consider this to be an essential attribute of any aspiring teacher of mathematics.’

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Getting our Voices Heard project SSESW

Making a Social Difference

Getting Our Voices Heard

A team from the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) is exploring how people with learning disabilities, and their organisations, exert influence on the policy and practice of adult safeguarding. The SSESW team consists of Lorna Montgomery, Berni Kelly and Gavin Davidson and includes research assistant Lisamarie Wood, a Research Officer from Praxis Care.

The Getting Our Voices Heard project is investigating what works in different contexts across all four UK nations, identifying examples of how people with learning disabilities and Disabled Persons’ Organisations influence adult safeguarding policy and practice. The project seeks to better enable disabled individuals to shape the policies which affect their lives in order to enhance their choices, control, dignity and freedom. 

The research team recruited and trained six people with learning disabilities as peer researchers, to assist with each stage of the project including design, data collection, analysis, report writing and action plan. The project concludes in March 2020 with a UK-wide Implementation Plan highlighting recommendations on effective approaches to ensuring that people with learning disabilities can influence adult safeguarding policy and legislation at national and organisational levels.

Lisamarie Wood (back row, left) completed our BA in Sociology and MRes in Social Science Research, learning in depth about different ways to research within society based on worldviews and how research can have real and lasting impact in society. She is a Visiting Scholar at Queen’s University while she collaborates on Getting Our Voices Heard. Lisamarie commented: ‘I’ve had an avid interest in Sociology since being introduced to it at school, fascinated by the different approaches used by sociologists throughout history to study and understand society. I was drawn to Sociology because of its power to understand and address inequalities in society and to influence social change.’

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pupils from different schools

Informing Educational Development

Mainstreaming Shared Education

Earlier this year, School of SSESW colleagues Joanne Hughes and Rebecca Loader, from our Centre for Shared Education (CSE), were appointed to undertake research into ‘mainstreaming’ shared education in Northern Ireland schools. The work was commissioned by the Social Change Initiative (SCI), a Belfast-based international charity focussing on inclusive and peaceful societies, and the Shared Education Learning Forum (SELF), an influential practitioner-led network formed by teachers and principals involved in the shared education initiative in Northern Ireland. 

The mainstreaming process involves further embedding existing cross-sectoral shared education into education policy in the region. For the ‘mainstreaming’ research, which is due for publication in late 2019, Joanne and Rebecca conducted two studies, one with policymakers, education officers and sectoral leaders in Northern Ireland, and one with practitioners from 16 school partnerships across the region. The research explored understandings of shared education and its aims, developments in shared practice, and enablers and barriers to mainstreaming the model in Northern Ireland.

This CSE research is intended to inform developments in the mainstreaming of shared education policy level, and will be disseminated to key stakeholders through the Social Change Initiative and the Shared Education Learning Forum. To this end, Joanne and Rebecca presented initial findings at SELF seminars in May this year and at the annual SELF conference in Templepatrick in September. Joanne, Rebecca and report co-author Professor Rhiannon Turner (School of Psychology at Queen’s University) will present their full findings at a seminar to be hosted by the Social Change Initiative later this year. Read more about the Centre for Shared Education at www.qub.ac.uk/cse

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front cover of the QuB SSESW Summer 2020 newsletter

Link to Summer 2020 PDF (0.6 MB) summer

  • Royal Recognition for Shared Education
  • Student Profile: John Kenny
  • Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders
  • COVID-19 Handbook for Social Work Students Entering the Workforce
  • Immersive Technologies and Digital Health
  • S.T.A.Y.W.E.L.L: Our Expert Guide to Wellbeing During Lockdown
  • Support for Abuse Victims with a Learning Disability
  • Staff Profiles: Gemma Carney and Joe Duffy
 cover of newsletter

Link to Winter 2019/20 PDF (0.6 MB)

  • Inclusive Education in Northern Ireland
  • Student Profile: Brenda Brady
  • Children’s Rights in New Zealand
  • Learning Together at Hydebank Wood College
  • Political Economies and Consequences of School Exclusion
  • Developing the Social Work Curriculum in the USA
  • Higher Education and Social Justice
  • Staff Profiles: Danielle Turney and Jonathan Heaney


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